By the next morning, the grandmother had already risen with the crows and the sparrows. She filled her coffee mug and had oatmeal and scrambled eggs on the stove ready for when her grandchildren came downstairs. She was at the kitchen table writing busily on a pad of paper. Amy was first to come down for breakfast, as usual.
“What’s that?” Amy asked.
Her grandmother, as shrewd as ever, answered mildly, “Young lady, you know precisely that I am preparing a flier for our little furry guest upstairs. We need to establish if there is a family looking for him.”
At this, Amy pulled a chair out from the table and sat down quietly pensive.
Ivan appeared in the kitchen doorway, his mouth agape in a lazy yawn, arms outstretched. Without saying a word he prepared a bowl of oatmeal and a good helping of eggs and took the seat next to his sister. The table remained quiet save for Ivan’s chewing, the grandmother’s steady scribbling, and Amy’s growling stomach.
“Eat some breakfast, dear” the grandmother said without looking up.
“I’m not hungry” Amy said, but she got up and fixed herself a plate anyway.
As soon as breakfast was done, Ivan and Amy cleaned their dishes and the empty pot of oatmeal.
Their grandmother stood up. “Now go wash up and feed the puppy. After that, we will go see Mr. Tim and then we’ll pick up some real dog food.” Mr. Tim was the elderly gentleman who owned the local newspaper.
Amy had brought a small plate of boiled chicken and rice – which looked more like applesauce after her grandmother put it in the food processor – and set it in the box where the puppy slept. His sweet black nose twitched at the scent of the chicken. Without opening his eyes, he wiggled closer to the plate and started eating. Amy smiled at this little creature who had completely surprised her. Who would have expected to find something so precious out in such unforgiving conditions?
In town, the shops were decorated with fresh evergreen and fairy light. Telephone poles were wrapped in red ribbon and Christmas music was playing from intermittent speakers along the main street, ushering along the throng of bundled up Christmas shoppers. The newspaper office was nestled between the local pharmacy and grocery. Amy and Ivan followed their grandmother into Mr. Tim’s office. Apparently most of his crew had gone out to gather stories from nearby towns so the building was mostly empty save for Mr. Tim himself and his niece who worked as his secretary.
Mr. Tim, a kindly soul with finely tailored-suits and a plume of white hair who stooped just ever so slightly from years of carrying heavy bundles of newspapers, looked up from his desk when they walked in.
“Martha!” he greeted. His bright blue eyes twinkled merrily from above the rim of his half-moon glasses. He stood up from his seat and walked as briskly as he could over to the grandmother to take her hand in his pale, wrinkled one. “So good to see you again! What brings you all the way from your beautifully quaint cottage?”
“Hello, Tim” their grandmother smiled politely, the faintest blush spreading across her cheeks. Everyone knew she took pride in how well she kept up with her home. “I came to ask if you would run this notice in your paper.” She handed him the writing pad she’d been working on that morning.
Mr. Tim pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose and squinted. “I see,” he said. “It seems this little fellow was very lucky to wind up in your yard then. Do you have a photo of him to go along with your description?”
“I’m afraid I don’t, that old camera of mine is headed for the graveyard.”
The old gentleman furrowed his eyebrows. “Now that won’t do. How about this? I’d be happy to stop by after work and take a nice picture of the little fellow. I’ll even bring my best camera.”
“Thank would be wonderful,” the grandmother said.
Mr. Tim smiled as he took the papers back to his desk. Amy hadn’t said a peep, and to her surprise, neither had her brother. He remained as quiet as she was as their grandmother ushered them back out onto the cheerily lit street and into the grocery next door where they picked up milk, cereal, eggs, and dog food.
Back home, Ivan started to perk up a little, prattling on to his grandmother about the shiny red fire engine he wanted for Christmas and how Mr. Tim reminded him of a skinny Santa Claus. Amy still hadn’t said anything, far too engrossed in her own thoughts and thinking of possible scenarios which would keep old Mr. Tim from coming by to take photos of her little rescue. Perhaps there would be a sensational news story that would require him to be present with his “best camera” or maybe the throng of Christmas shoppers would congest the streets so much he wouldn’t be able to get out of his office.
End of Part II
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